Meanwhile, the Sea-Watch 4 heads to Spain for repairs after being detained in Italy since May
A REFUGEE has been medically evacuated from an NGO ship, his civilian rescuers said today as they continue to wait for the European authorities to provide them with a port.
The Ocean Viking saved the lives of 58 people in two operations off the coast of war-torn Libya at the weekend.
Later on Sunday, the Ocean Viking’s crew came to the aid of the Nadir, another NGO ship which the Maltese authorities had abandoned the night before after they had discovered 58 refugees in a wooden boat — more people than the Nadir could accommodate.
Then, later that night, the Ocean Viking brought 13 more refugees on board in its second operation in Malta’s search-and-rescue (SAR) zone.
On Monday, the Italian coastguard evacuated six people — two of whom were in need of urgent medical attention — from the Ocean Viking.
SOS Mediterranee, the ship’s operators, announced today that another person, a 22-year-old man whose health deteriorated last night, was picked up by the Italian coastguards this afternoon.
“The 122 remaining survivors cared for by the International Federation of the Red Cross/Crescent and SOS Mediterranee onboard the Ocean Viking are still in urgent need of a place of safety to disembark,” the charity said today.
The Ocean Viking’s crew made five requests to the European maritime authorities yesterday, asking for a safe port to disembark the rescued. But their requests went unanswered.
The survivors, SOS Mediterranee said, “kids, unaccompanied minors, men and women, show tremendous resilience but a ship is only a temporary shelter. They need to disembark swiftly as per maritime law.”
Meanwhile, the Italian authorities finally released the Sea-Watch 4 rescue ship yesterday after keeping it in port since May.
The ship left Sicily yesterday morning, German refugee solidarity organisation Sea-Watch said yesterday.
“She is now on her way to the shipyard in Burriana, where our Sea-Watch 3 is already being prepared for her next deployment. After the arrival of the Sea-Watch 4, our shipyard crew will also perform repair work on her,” the organisation posted on social media.
“It is not often that our two ships are free at the same time. Like other civil rescue ships, they are often blocked by Italian authorities with flimsy bureaucratic justifications such as that we have too many life jackets on board.
“There is a tactic behind this: By highlighting such alleged deficiencies, they try to camouflage the racist policy behind the detention of NGO ships.
“We demand an end to the arbitrary blockade and to the criminalisation of sea rescuers and people on the move!”
Top image shows the 22-year-old man being evacuated from the Ocean Viking [Pic: SOS Mediterranee]
The Civil Fleet is not just a blog, but a podcast too. You can listen to an interview with the Sea-Watch 4’s head of mission Hannah Wallace Bowman on the following links: bit.ly/3AObwEI / spoti.fi/39xDwAG / apple.co/3ogePS3